Timeline: Cameron McLay’s tenure as Pittsburgh police chief

McLay announced today that his last day on the ground is Nov. 8.

Chief Cameron McLay at the First Night parade on Dec. 31, 2014.

Chief Cameron McLay at the First Night parade on Dec. 31, 2014.


Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay announced this morning that his last day on the job will be Nov. 8, after serving just more than two years in the position.

Here’s a look back at what brought McLay to Pittsburgh and his time here.

Feb. 20, 2013 — Chief Nate Harper resigned at the request of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl amid a federal investigation. (KDKA)

Feb. 2013 — Regina McDonald, assistant police chief of administration, named interim chief. (Post-Gazette)

March 22, 2013 — A grand jury indicted Harper, and his attorney said Harper would plead guilty to five counts of conspiracy and tax evasion. (Post-Gazette)

Jan. 6, 2014 — Mayor Bill Peduto inaugurated. (KDKA)

Feb. 25, 2014 — Harper sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison. (WESA)

“I’m a broken man,” Harper said.

June 10, 2014 — Stephen Bucar announced as new public safety director tasked with finding a new police chief. (WTAE)

June 11, 2014 — Peduto launched a city-wide effort to identify priorities for the new chief. (WESA)

Sept. 2, 2014 — Peduto and Bucar announced Cameron McLay was named police chief. (WPXI)

“[McLay] most certainly will have to restore the trust with the community.  He must rebuild the morale with the rank and file, and he must make the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police a national model,” Peduto said.

His job was to “implement data-driven, community-oriented policing; to restore public trust through creating sound accountability systems; and to improve morale by restoring the integrity of police leadership systems,” per the city. Here’s McLay’s resume.

Dec. 9, 2014 — Cmdr. Scott Schubert promoted to assistant chief of operations. (Here’s his LinkedIn page.)

Dec. 23, 2014 — McLay wrote a column in the New Pittsburgh Courier that announced an officer involved in the shooting of Leon Ford — who was shot and paralyzed by police in Homewood — was placed on desk duty. He continued:

“When the next ugly incident happens, will we be willing to withhold judgement and control our emotions long enough to give each other the benefit of the doubt? Are we going to work together toward reconciliation? Are we going to work on listening to one another with the intention of compassionate understanding?

“I have faith in us. I think we will.”

Dec. 31, 2014 — McLay was photographed holding a sign that says “I resolve to challenge racism @ work #endwhitesilence,” outraging the police union. (DailyMail)

March 3, 2015 — McLay created an Office of Professional Standards. (WTAE)

March 12, 2015 — Pittsburgh named one of six cities to participate in the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.

May 29, 2015 — Harper released from prison. (Tribune-Review)

Sept. 2015 — Robbery and homicide units combined to form the Violent Crime Unit. (WESA)

Sept. 2015 — These are some of the headlines from when McLay marked a year with the bureau:

Oct. 9, 2015 — Bucar’s final day as public safety director before taking a job with the state police. (Post-Gazette)

“[Bucar’s] job is to put the right people in charge, and that’s what he did in Cam McLay and Cam’s command staff, from the assistant chiefs down to the commanders,” city spokesman Tim McNulty said.

Dec. 30, 2015 — Wendell Hissrich named public safety director. (City of Pittsburgh)

April 13, 2016 — After a Donald Trump rally at the convention center, the police union said officers weren’t well equipped, and McLay agreed. (WPXI)

“So did we have enough people staged and equipment ready to go? No, we didn’t. We didn’t see that one coming. It shifted too quickly, and that’s part of the things I think we will find that we could have done better,” McLay said.

Post-2016 Pgh. Marathon (May 3, 2016) — McLay apologized to officers in an email that they’d had to work overtime during the Pittsburgh Marathon. (Tribune-Review)

“This year, my execution level failed in the planning phase. We should have been proactive in the planning and staffing of this important city event, and we were not. I am ultimately responsible for that failure, a responsibility I do not take lightly,” McLay wrote.

Pre-Beyoncé concert (May 31, 2016) — McLay said enough officers were available to work the Beyoncé concert, though that was initially unclear. (KDKA)

July 2016 — Fourteen city officers trained “to detect implicit bias and procedural justice interventions as part of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice” began peer-to-peer training expected to last several months. (WESA)

July 9, 2016 — McLay credited communication and professionalism from his staff for keeping things calm during a Black Lives Matter protest when attendees said they wanted to block traffic on Parkway East. (New Pittsburgh Courier)

July 26, 2016 — A uniformed McLay speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, but said it wasn’t a political endorsement. (PublicSource)